Being a Character: Psychoanalysis and Self-Experience

Author(s) : Christopher Bollas

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Being a Character: Psychoanalysis and Self-Experience

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : 1993
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 304
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 2695
  • ISBN 13 : 9780415088152
  • ISBN 10 : 0415088151
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Shows how each person unconsciously invests the ordinary objects of life with particular and private meaning. As each person subsequently voyages through the environment he encounters objects that are already laden with previously invested meaning and in this sense the individual is evoked by encounters with objects. Taking Freud's theory of the dream work as a model for all unconscious thinking, Bollas argues that we dream work ourselves into becoming who we are, and he illustrates how the analyst and the patient use unconscious processes to develop new psychic structures that the patient can use to alter his or her self experience. Building on this ground, the latter part of the book describes very special kinds of self experience, including the tragic madness of women cutting themselves, the odd experience of a cruising homosexual in bars and baths, the demented ferocity of the Fascist state of mind, and every person's self experience as a member of his or her historical epoch. He includes a seminal chapter on the Oedipus Complex, arguing that Sophocles and Frued point to an entirely different 'resolution' than heretofore argued in any of the schools of psychoanalytic thought. The main purpose of Being a Character is to rethink the nature of the individual's creation of a lived environment, and the author draws on his clinical experience as well as the notebooks and the writings of poets, scientists, painters, sculptors and anthropologists to support his view that each person dreams himself into existence and walks about henceforth in his own private dream.

About the Author(s)

Christopher Bollas is a member of the British Psychoanalytical Society, the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies, and Honorary Member of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. He is a member of ESGUT, the European Study Group of Unconscious Thought.

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